Five quick takes on the Cleveland Cavaliers' 107-102 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena...
1. Win a game, set a record, lose a player. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It's been that kind of season for the Cavaliers. They gutted out a hard-fought five-point win against a team featuring one of the top-five players in the game in Anthony Davis that is playing for its playoff life.
The win makes it six in seven games for Cleveland (46-30), which remains a half-game ahead of surging Philadelphia (45-40), winners of nine straight, and one game up on Indiana (45-31), winners of four in a row, for third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
2.LeBron James broke Michael Jordan's record for most consecutive games scoring 10 points or more, now at 867 (and counting), with 27 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists in a 42-minute performance. James broke Jordan's record with, what else, a driving two-hand hammer at the 5:59 mark in the opening quarter. At the ensuing dead ball, the game was stopped and LeBron was presented the basketball, waving it above his head as the crowd poured adoration down on him.
"It will probably go in my trophy case with a lot of accomplishments in my life," James said. "That's a good moment, a special moment not only for myself but for my family and for so many kids that look up to me for inspiration, to know that you can actually go out there and do it and know where I've come from. You know brought up 30 minutes south of here and the statistics is always stacked up against you and for me to be in this position today, being able to accomplish something that a lot of people thought would not happen again or be able to to break a record like that.
"It means a lot for me and it means more to the youth that kinda needs hope."
In the 42 minutes James played Friday night, the Cavs were plus-16. In the six he did not, they were minus-11.
3. Now, the bad news. Starting point guard George Hill went down with what Cavaliers acting coach Larry Drew termed a left foot injury when he stepped on the foot of New Orleans' Rajon Rondo on a drive to the rack with 6:22 to play in their third quarter and though he walked off the floor and to the locker room, he was assisted in doing so. Hill had seemed to have turned a corner in feeling comfortable and playing well. Before the injury, Hill had shot 4-of-7 from the field.
"It was really unfortunate, first of all that George, that he sustained the injury that he did," Drew said. "I mean that's kind of been our story all year. Hopefully, it's not too serious."
4.Jose Calderon had a huge impact on the game, despite a stat line that shows five points in 14 minutes. Taking the floor when Hill went down, Calderon helped spur the Cavaliers to a 21-8 run to close the third quarter. The veteran point guard finished with a plus-minus of plus-15, second-highest in the game behind only James' plus-16.
"It's something I was thinking about at halftime," Drew said of Calderon. "We needed more energy and he's an energy guy. He loves this team and he loves his teammates. He loves his coaches. He does whatever this team needs."
5.Tristan Thompson, for arguably the first time this season, flashed the version of the player who played such a big part in helping the Cavaliers get to three consecutive NBA Finals. He finished with a game-high 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive end, adding four points and a blocked shot in 21 minutes.
More importantly, though, when he was on the floor, he was the primary defender on Davis, who shot just 6-of-19 and finished with 16 points. Thompson registered a plus-9 plus-minus rating, compared to Davis' minus-20.
"He's guarded Anthony Davis before and done a good job against him," Drew said. "He played like the Tristan of old."
Thompson now has had 10 rebounds or more in seven of his last nine games.